In today's Denver Post is yet another story about Colorado school officials touting yet another report admonishing more 'reform' to provide for more "data infrastructure, human capital, struggling schools, standards/accountability."
As I have note before, Governor Ritter, Lt. Governor O'Brien and the Dimocrats in the Colorado legislature are fully on board with President Obama's and Education Secretary Duncan's "Race to the Top" scheme. An article in this past Sunday's Denver Post further explains how this will only mean a bigger, bloated bureaucracy in government.
It won't hire one more teacher; it won't reduce any class size; it won't make any more field trips possible; it won't reduce the tax burden on any American -- but it will mean hundreds, perhaps thousands of more bean counters, data crunchers, systems analysts and general bureaucrats hired by the thousands of school districts around the county.
It is the so-called 'merit pay' for teachers idea. And President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are extorting states across the nation to adopt this crappiest of all "reforms."
It is an absolutely backward idea because any person old enough to know anything about government and public schools already knows how this experiment will turn out: teachers assigned to schools in poor neighborhoods will perform below expectations and teachers who politic their way into schools in affluent communities will achieve high 'merit'. Of course, it also means that teachers will have every incentive to 'cheat' on the CSAP standardized tests ... or else they will probably decide in a couple of years that 'teaching' is not for them after all, no matter how good a teacher they may be in actual fact.
Nevertheless, as the news report below makes clear, the rush is on to kowtow to the Obama administration's bureaucratic schemes -- visions of deficit dollars gleaming in the eyes of state legislators everywhere.
Let me put this plainly -- we have yet to see one substantial policy initiative from Obama or Duncan that will help any child anywhere actually learn something that will help them be productive in our future economy.
Holding out billions of dollars as a potential windfall, the Obama administration is persuading state after state to rewrite education laws to open the door to more charter schools and expand the use of student test scores for judging teachers.
That aggressive use of economic stimulus money by Education Secretary Arne Duncan is provoking heated debates over the uses of standardized testing and the proper federal role in education, issues that flared frequently during President George W. Bush's enforcement of his No Child Left Behind Law.
A recent case is California, where legislative leaders are vowing to do whatever is necessary, including changing a law that bars the use of student scores in teacher evaluations, to ensure that the state is eligible for a chunk of the $4.3 billion the federal Department of Education will soon award. The law had strong backing from the state teachers union.
Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee and several other states have moved to bring state education laws or policies into line with one or more planks in President Barack Obama's school agenda.
The administration's stance has caught by surprise those educators and officials who had hoped that Obama's calls during the campaign for an overhaul of the No Child law would mean a reduced federal role and less reliance on standardized testing.
The proposed rules make testing an even more powerful factor in schools by extending the use of scores to teacher evaluations.
The proposed rules for the grants, which the administration calls the Race to the Top, require states to show they are fostering innovation, improving achievement, raising standards, recruiting effective teachers, turning around failed schools and building data systems.
While many educators and advocates support the administration's push, there has been an outpouring of complaints as well, including in comments on the rules filed in recent days with the Department of Education.
"The proposed regulations . . . give the impression that stimulus funds provide the federal government with unbridled capacity to impose bureaucratic demands," Robert Grimesey, superintendent of the Orange County Public Schools, a rural district in Virginia, said in written comments.
"I am a public school teacher who vehemently wanted to vote for a president who would save us from No Child Left Behind," Diane Aoki of Keala kekua, Hawaii, wrote to the Department of Education.